Abbey Hull for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Psychological scientist Irene Scopelliti and researchers of City University London wanted to know why we find other people are so annoying. The answer? Our self-presentation to the world backfires and we have a difficult time responding to situations with empathy.
Humans don’t always keep emotional perspective in mind; we believe that other people share our emotions instead of having their own. People confuse self-promotion with humility, leading to bragging with the belief that the other person is truly interested in sharing our pride and joy. And when they don’t share our emotions, we become the annoying ones.
Scopelliti and her colleagues decided to test this theory in a few experiments, soon to be published in Psychological Science. Researchers first asked a group of subjects to describe a time in their life when they bragged to someone and what they believed the recipient had felt. Another group of subjects did the opposite, telling a story of when they were bragged to, and their reaction towards the experience.
In the results, self-promoters were more likely to report positive emotions than recipients of self-promotion. The hypothesis was proven correct with the understanding that self-promoters often see situations egocentrically and have a hard time stepping into the other person’s shoes.
In a secondary test, researchers found two more groups of self-promoters and recipients. They asked each group to rate the recipients’ experience as happy, prideful, jealous, angry, annoyed, inferior, or upset. The results were the same, with self-promoters overestimating the recipient and underestimating their annoyance.
Finally, scientists studied self-promoters and the belief that excessive bragging leads to a good impression. The researchers asked subjects to appear as successful as possible, but they promoted themselves too aggressively and their recipients found them off-putting.
Bragging can be much more annoying than we are aware, but it may also be even worse than we thought. Through self-promotion, it is speculated that the mystery behind a person is gone. There is nothing positive left to discover.
Hence, science reaffirms the old adage: Modesty is the best policy.